Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dancing in Intimate Spaces and Salons

The first day of 2017 found myself and Mike driving to a beautiful home in Bethesda. There I started my year dancing in a beautiful home, with exquisite decor. I performed there a small part of my classical Indian dance repertoire, and then also a bit of my Afghan repertoire. It was a warm and wonderful evening, full of friends old and new, and delicious traditional food, and was my introduction to the home-cooked Persian abgoosth. I share below some photos taken at this beautiful home. Among the exquisite decor in the home was the striking peacock lamp, which can be seen behind me. 


                                                           Photo Credit: Arash Bateni

Upon returning to Toronto, my first Toronto performance was also, incidentally, in a home setting. This time, it was an Ensemble Topaz dance performance in a lavish and beautiful home of a wonderful arts philanthropist. Working in the arts industry always brings a variety of exciting dance and music experiences.  It is also interestingly coincidental that some of my first professional collaborations with Mike were at house concerts and in-house parties, where we partnered up as musician and dancer.

Last year, I had another interesting salon-space performance experience, at the Bellerive Room inside Toronto's beautiful Aga Khan Museum, during my Pop Up Performance weekend in November. Here's a photo from this performance in this beautiful Persian salon-style room, which also houses the Aga Khan family's private collection of ceramics. My last two performances on each of the two days were held in this room.

                                                    Photo Credit: Amin Bhanji 

During my years growing up in New Delhi, India, we would frequently find ourselves at house performances of both singing and dancing, as well as poetry recitation, for gatherings of family and friends. This parallel performance world lay outside of the formal performances done as a classical Indian dancer in more formal stages and events, and is perhaps a memory that most Bengali children
can relate to. The house concert, the intimate salon performance, or informal or somewhat formal performances in home spaces are both challenging and exciting. I also find that they often allow for an in-depth engagement with the audience, and as an artist, I enjoy inhabiting this parallel performance world in addition to the formal stage/performance space.

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